A balanced diet is the best way to ensure your body has the right fuel in the tank for your next training session. However we all live in the real world and sometimes it's just not possible to eat properly before training. In this blog physical activity expert and world-renowned sports scientist, Professor Greg Whyte describes how we should fuel pre-training.
Ideally, we should eat real food prior to training however, sometimes this is not possible to achieve in our busy lives. There simply isn’t enough time between finishing work or family commitments and beginning training. Short of time, the temptation is to reach for the biscuit barrel or vending machine as a solution, or simply avoid fuelling up, and both of these options can lead to sub-optimal training performance.
In addition to energy, low levels of fluid intake throughout the day, combined with prolonged exposure to hot or air conditioned environments, can lead to sub-optimal hydration states that can negatively impact performance.
Adopting a targeted approach to pre-training energy and fluid intake should focus on delivering the right energy for the training session ahead, as well as delivering a personalised approach, particularly for the older athlete.
This approach has been termed ‘Periodising Nutrition’ and, much like periodised training, targets the specific needs of the athlete to optimise performance.
Given the altered tolerance to simple sugars in older athletes (learn more), pre-training nutrition should focus on complex carbohydrates. Optimising energy and hydration levels prior to training is of paramount importance, particularly for older athletes short on time and opportunity to train. Adopting a targeted approach to pre-training energy and fluid intake should focus on delivering the right energy for the training session ahead, as well as delivering a personalised approach, particularly for the older athlete.
The focus on complex, slower releasing, carbohydrates will support energy availability throughout training and avoid a pre-training spike in insulin associated with high glycaemic index (rapidly absorbed) sugars which has been associated with a fall in energy availability (and, with prolonged exposure, an exacerbation in insulin resistance). Furthermore, the addition of protein will improve satiety (reducing the drive to snack) and act as an early intervention in the recovery process.
Consuming your targeted nutrition in the form of fluid can also aid in optimising hydration status. Using cooled, flavoured fluid has the added bonus of improving palatability and helping with the consumption of fluids to aid hydration.
Whilst it is difficult to measure hydration, a simple ‘wee test’ can provide valuable feedback on hydration status. Your urine should be straw (light yellow) coloured and of normal volume. If urine output is low and dark in colour, it generally means you need to increase fluid intake.
Taking pre-training energy and hydration seriously requires planning and should be an integral part of your training plan. For the time poor athlete, Elivar PREPARE provides a solution to optimise energy and hydration leading to greater training performance.
Take Home Messages:
Elivar PREPARE contains a proprietary blend of complex carbohydrates and proteins designed to provide the perfect pre-training fuel.
Available in Chocolate & Strawberry Flavours
OTHER BLOGS BY PROFESSOR GREG WHYTE
About Professor Greg Whyte OBE PhD DSc FBASES FACSM
Prof Greg Whyte is a two-time Olympian, Professor of Sport Science, Liverpool John Moores University and has published over 200 peer reviewed papers and 8 books in the area of sport, exercise science and medicine . He is Performance Director, Centre for Health and Human Performance, Chair of UK Active Research Institute Scientific Advisory Board and Principal investigator for WADA. He has helped to raise over £35 million for Comic Relief and Sport Relief and is the best selling author of Achieve the Impossible.
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